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PHOENIXVILLE - Depth and experience figure to help Phoenixville’s boys basketball team enjoy a better season during the 2012-13 season under head coach Randy Reber.
The Phantoms return three starters from a team that finished 4-9 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference and 6-17 overall following a 72-58 loss to Upper Moreland in the first round of the District 1-AAA playoffs.
The Phantoms also have back some other players who saw a lot of time last year and started some games and they have added two transfer players to the cause.
Senior guard Victor Bozzelli (6-0), senior forward Greg Hughes (6-2) and sophomore forward DeAndre Gadsden (6-1) are the returning starters.
The 12-man roster will also have 6-0 senior guard Ian Harrigan, 6-2 senior forward C.J. Lindsay, 5-6 senior guard Darford Saunders, 5-9 senior guard Rich Martin, 6-2 senior forward Jake Tallarico, 6-1 sophomore guard Mike Anthony, 6-1 transfer junior guard Eric Wallace, 6-2 senior transfer guard Marcus Howell and 5-9 junior guard Jim Jackson.
Reber figures his system is now firmly in place in Phoenixville in his third year here after a long tenure at St. Pius X High School.
“Finally, at this point in the third year, the guys who are playing have been in the program a little bit and understand what we are trying to do,” said Reber. “We really think if they play the system, that certainly will be beneficial to us. We lack a little size, but we have decent overall size. We play bigger using some of our athleticism and knowledge of the game.”
Reber did comment that there are several teams in the PAC-10 who have some exceptional size inside which will present problems for the Phantoms to contend with at both ends of the court.
Phoenixville graduated three players from last year’s squad in Rasheed Lawson, James Riggins and Jordan Kelly. Riggins and Kelly both missed a lot of time, especially early in the year last winter.
“We shoot the ball decently,” said Reber. “We are real good when we share the ball and make that extra pass. We have to move the ball and share the ball and take good shots. We are working hard at the defensive end. And with more players, we will be able to make changes in how we defend people. That will be a key for us.”
Reber pointed out that there is good competition within this team that creates good, solid practices and scrimmages with two full units pitted against each other. That type of daily work should allow the Phantoms to improve individually and as a team throughout the season.
“We have enough depth that we will be able to go deep on the bench and allow us to do things defensively,” said Reber. “We will be able to bring people in and not lose anything. We had a good offseason and are looking for a good season.”
Reber thinks the PAC-10 will have as much parity this year as ever with just about any team capable of beating anybody else on a given evening.
“The important thing for us is to win early,” said Reber. “Then they will feel confident about themselves and what we are trying to do. The guys are working hard together and I have been pleased.”
Phoenixville’s winter sports teams will be playing their games at the new Phoenixville Area Middle School gymnasium, and that should be a nice plus for the players, coaches and fans.
“We have a great gym,” Reber said. “It is really nice. The players like it. It is a nice size and we are excited. We hope we play well so we can get a lot of people to come out and enjoy this gym.”
Phoenixville will open its season at home in the George Rocco Tournament on Friday night, Dec. 7, with a game against Fleetwood. The Phantoms will play either North Penn or Conestoga in the Saturday portion of the tourney.
The “really ambitious schedule” includes dates against non-league foes like Penn Wood, Central Dauphin East out of Harrisburg, Academy Park and the teams at the Marple Newtown Holiday Tournament during the Christmas break.